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Is it legal to either destroy or void a contract without contacting the parties that signed it?

Philadelphia, PA |

We (3 people) are subletting from a tenant. Earlier, all three of us signed a contract for an apartment with the date and rent, which we paid in full. The tenant then gave only 1 of the members a new contract to sign which would be filed with the landlord. The tenant did not attempt to contact the other two signers to tell them that a new contract was created, so the other two signers believed that they were legally living there. Now, the tenant claims that the other two signers are illegal residents.

Attorney Answers 1

  1. Unfortunately additional information is needed to properly answer your questions. Generally speaking, a third party cannot alter, modify, or relinquish the rights of another without their specific authorization. However, some agreements have certain language and provisions that allow just that. For example, a continuing guarantee would be valid as against all original guarantors even if only one of them renewed, or extended the agreement (in this case a lease). Also, if the parties were in breach of the agreement (i.e. behind on rent) the original lease may have terminated on its own terms and then a new agreement could be established with only one of the three original parties.

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